Yeukai Karengezeka Arts Correspondent
A touring exhibition that interrogates racism dubbed “Wayland Rudd Collection: Russian Prop Art” is running at the First Floor Gallery. The exhibition is being hosted by Russian-American curator Yevgeniy Fiks and will run until July 28. First Floor Gallery marketing director Marcus Gora said the touring exhibition is about protesting against racism.
“This is a touring exhibition developed by Yevgeniy Fiks, to honour Wayland Rudd, an African American actor, who left the United States for the USSR in the 1930’s to protest racism and became a star there,” he said.
It features historical posters alongside artworks of African-American, Russian and local artists looking in depth at and responding to the representation of Africans and African-Americans in the Soviet visual culture.
The exhibition is travelling from the US where it was showing at Winkleman Gallery in New York and will be going to Moscow after showing with First Floor Gallery Harare.
On Saturday, cultural experts conducted a discussion about the theme of the exhibition.
Some local historians and cultural experts were looking at the role of non-Western support in local liberation struggle and ideas of racial reconciliation championed by these ideologies.
From the discussion, it was pointed out African artists should ensure that they paint pictures that tell the true African life, not to allow other continents to define Africans as impoverished people.
“It is easy for the younger generations to forget the role of the East in African and Zimbabwean liberations struggles.
“Soviet Union in particular, played an important role in supporting the fight of Africans against colonial rule.
“It also tried to build a new paradigm of race relations based on unity of all working people of the world.
While Soviet Union disintegrated in the early 1990s, its impact on Africa remains and the lessons of a non-black and white view of race relations is still relevant”, said Gora.